stop clicking on Justin Bieber

July 01 2015

I got into journalism by interning at a DC-based (non-US) newsroom, which I now work for. Coming from the security contracting world, I carried lots of suspicions about how news is spun and how shallow journalists could be. I’m sure it depends on where you are but for me, my experience has not only proven against that but has given me a career I love and am proud of. Yes, if you look at big media in the US you will, unsurprisingly, find that there are various ‘patterns’ in who leads these companies and notice that there is a horrible lack of diversity--something I’m hoping will improve.

However, I think that far too often people blame the media for things that should be everyone’s responsibility. I’d like to point out that when you click on an article about Justin Bieber’s court hearing in Miami thousands of times more than you click on the article about the Rohingya, we’re going to focus more energy on Justin Bieber. The extent of that depends on how the news organization is funded, along with other factors, but generally you can assume your viewership matters. Believe it or not, we actually don’t even want to be covering Justin Bieber ourselves! My newsroom consists of some of the most open-minded, astute and informed people I have ever met--one of the main reasons I got hooked and you can bet they’d prefer to report on something else! We count clicks, we observe views, we keep track of a lot of things so next time you’re on a news site or going through TV channels, browse responsibly!

There is no doubt that impulsive headlines are made and stories are blown out of proportion every day. However, I don’t think it would take long for someone to figure out who those networks are. So why not watch something else? IF you’re reading this, you have internet and if you have internet, you can figure out what news sources tend to do this less. It’s easy to blame your lack of action/awareness on something else and the media quite often deserves it but let’s keep it real and make the effort as well!

Thanks for listening and please reach out for comments--I’d love to hear from ya--especially if you have advice for a new journalist!

twitter: @KatStefanie

instagram: katswerner

PS: Ramadan kareem to my Muslim friends and a shout out to my habibi, ILYMTYLM

Kat Werner
[email protected]
Washington, DC

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